Print Server Requirements and Recommendations
You can attach a printer to a stand‐alone system or to any system
on the network. Any networked system with a printer can be a print
server, as long as the system has adequate resources to manage the printing
Spooling space is the amount of disk space that is used to store and
process requests in the print queue. Spooling space is the single most important
factor to consider when deciding which systems to designate as print servers. When
users submit files for printing, the files are stored in the /var/spool/lp directory
until the files are printed. The size of the /var directory depends on the
size of the disk and how the disk is partitioned. Spooling space
can be allocated in the /var directory on the print server, or mounted from
a file server and accessed over the network.
Note - If /var is not created as a separate file system, the /var directory uses
space in the root (/) file system. The root (/) file system
is likely to be insufficient on a print server.
When evaluating systems as possible print servers, consider their available disk space. A
large spool directory can consume 600 Mbytes of disk space. Evaluate the size
and division of disk space on systems that can be designated as print
Also, carefully evaluate the printing needs and use patterns of print client systems.
For example, assume that users in a small group typically print only short
email messages, which are simple ASCII files without sophisticated formatting requirements. In this
example, a print server with 20 to 25 Mbytes of disk space allocated
to the /var directory is probably sufficient. If, however, many print client users
are printing large documents, bit mapped images, or raster images, the users will
likely fill the spooling space quite frequently. When users cannot queue their jobs
for printing, work flow is interrupted. Requests for more spooling space can force
you to either add disk space for spooling or designate a different system
as the print server.
If the print server has a /var directory that is too small, and
a larger file system is available, you can mount the larger file system
on the /var directory for additional spooling space. For information about mounting file
systems and editing the vfstab file, see Mounting File Systems in System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems.
A print server does not require additional memory. However, you might find that
more memory improves performance in managing print requests.
The swap space allocation on the print server should be sufficient to handle
LP print service requirements. For information about how to increase swap space, see
Chapter 21, Configuring Additional Swap Space (Tasks), in System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems.
For optimal performance, the print server should have a hard disk and a
local /var directory. You should mount spooling space for a print server on
a local hard disk. If a print server has its own hard disk
and a local /var directory, printing is much faster. And, you can more
accurately predict the time needed to process print requests.